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‘Frida On My Mind’ At Oxford Bookstore

Hemalatha Sridhar

On March 8th, Oxford Bookstore celebrated the occasion of Women’s Day by making its muse, the legendary Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. The notable and mammoth pillar in the history of female artists was remembered and honored for her colossal contribution to the feminist cause and to the cry for freedom of the female expression. The event was in conversation with Karuna Ezara Parikh and Mamta Sharma Das.

The evening began with a few young poets from Kolkata sharing their poetry with an appreciative audience. The subject matter of these monologues were all very close to the female heart, such as the challenges of attempting to find a love that is meaningful, or the disdain upon being undermined. The poetry session was followed by performances by local musicians who presented music that was in tune with the subjects that were being spoken of.

Finally, the main conversation began, where bloggers Mamta Sharma Das and Karuna Ezara Parikh showcased photoshoots where they posed as the iconic Frida Kahlo and discussed why she was such an inspiration to women even so many years after her death.

Mamta said that although she never intended to at first, she was persuaded into being in the photo shoot, and was ultimately delighted that it happened because the works of Kahlo had driven her to chase her dreams ever since she was a child.

Karuna read out snippets from her blog where she expresses her ardent admiration for the radical artist, who was never to be discouraged by any of her physical disabilities, or the gender roles of her time. She discussed how Kahlo’s spirit roamed free although she was physically constricted in her movements, and her open and vibrant personality was what colored her gorgeous portraits. Her lack of regard for notions of gender was spoken of, while evoking the ease with which Kahlo would smoke a cigarette, while wearing blossoms in her hair.

The evening was insightful and highly appropriate for Women’s Day as the subject chosen to embody the spirit of the free and vivacious woman, Frida Kahlo, continues to arouse a search and desire for a higher kind of liberty of expression that allows women to conquer the world while donning dainty flowers.